We know that many of you have questions after yesterday’s message to the public, and we would like to address some of these concerns.
First, we would like to reassure you that there are still no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on Saba. Please continue to practice Social Distancing, which includes keeping physical distance between yourself and others, not having or attending gatherings with large groups such as dinner events, house parties, or birthday parties. To our vulnerable members in the community, we would like to request that you stay home or away from large gatherings as much as possible and that others are mindful of them by refraining from having close physical contact unless necessary. Residents who are in self-quarantine, are asked to continue to do so until instructed differently from health officials. Any returning residents as of today will be required to enter into mandatory quarantine.
Many of you know that two persons entered the island yesterday who were not supposed to. These two persons have since left the island this afternoon. Our policy is that only registered residents of Saba may now enter the island. And while many wonder if these also refer to others who are from here or has family here, it does not. An example is my brother, who was born here, but lives in St. Maarten, is currently also not allowed to enter the island.
As for traveling to or through St. Maarten, currently, only residents of St. Maarten are allowed to enter the island. Meaning that people who wish to transit through the island are no longer allowed to. In addition to this, Winair has now stopped its regular scheduled service to Saba but will have chartered flights available if and when needed.
Concerning school closures and the medical school. Contrary to what some parents were informed today, the Easter vacation for the Primary and Secondary schools has changed and will occur on April 6th through April 9th,2020. Classes should resume on April 14th, after the public holidays. The Medical School will close for the upcoming weeks but the program will continue for the students online. During the last few days many medical students have already left the island.
In our communication from yesterday, we outlined that restaurants will now only be open for take-out or delivery. To help facilitate this, all individuals who occasionally provide food services from their private homes, are required to cease these services until further notice seeing that they do not have the same overhead as a regular registered business with employees.
We realize that there are many concerns about how the COVID 19 and our recently taken measures will impact our economy. Please be assured that the Executive Council is negotiating with the relevant ministries in the Netherlands about this to see what is possible. As soon as we have information we will communicate this to the public.
We know that these are challenging times for everyone, but we need to continue to work together in the best interest of Saba and the people living here.